People tend to take diabetes for granted, thinking a diagnosis simply means having to eliminate sugar from their diets, says Carly Rohrer, associate manager of the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association.
But there’s much more to it than that; diabetes is a serious health threat, Rohrer insists, and the nonprofit group hopes to get the message out to Southern Nevadans.
About 300,000 Southern Nevadans suffer from diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, and one in three children born after 2000 will develop it during their life if things don’t change, Rohrer says.
“I don’t think people who are at risk for diabetes realize it,” Rohrer says. “And if they do, what that means. They think, ‘Oh, I just can’t eat candy anymore.’ It affects your eyes, your circulation, it could lead to heart disease, kidney failure. It’s linked to every vital organ in your body. I don’t think people are aware of that.”
The association, which created its local chapter in 1972, aims to educate the public through programs and to provide support when someone is diagnosed with diabetes.
Type 1 is commonly diagnosed during childhood and may be genetic, Rohrer says, although people in their 20s and 30s are developing it more often than in the past. Type 2 is caused by lifestyle, such as being obese and sedentary.
The organization stresses prevention through exercise, proper nutrition and maintaining a proper weight, she adds.
The association promotes prevention through health fairs. Because the office is staffed by two people, Rohrer relies on volunteers to get the word out.
By the end of the year, Rohrer hopes to have other community programs in place at local schools and within the minority communities, which are at higher risk of developing the disease.
“We’re in a rebuilding phase getting the information out that we’re here and that we have lots of resources,” she says.
Rohrer is seeking volunteers who can help implement new outreach efforts within the Hispanic, American Indian and black communities. Spanish-speaking volunteers are needed, she adds.
For more information or to volunteer, call the association at 369-9995.
Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 380-4564.